The Mesmerizing Royal Mysore Ooty
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Places to visit
Located at a distance of 19 kms from Mysore City Center are the Brindavan Gardens of Mysore. The gardens are built across river Cauvery and below Krishnaraja Sagar Dam (also known as Kannambadi) which is in itself a magnificent example of engineering and a major tourist attractions. The dam was built by Sir M. Vishweshwariah in 1924 whereas the Brindavan Gardens were built by Sir Mirza Ismail.
Its symmetric design and terrace gardens clustered around topiaries, pergolas and gazebos instantly become a favourite among travellers. The illuminated dancing fountains on the northern side of the Brindavan Gardens are surely one of the many highlights of this place. A beautiful orchestrated show with colorful lights, music and harmonious coupling of water can be seen after sunset. The show is made more dramatic with laser lights.
The garden has a botanical park as well as fountains. Boat rides in the lake can also be enjoyed here. Fruit orchard and horticulture farms are situated adjoining to the Brindavan Gardens. Best time to visit the garden is after sunset as one can view the fountain show and enjoy a pleasant evening.
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A touch of majesty, a feel of stateliness can be relished in the phenomenal Lalitha Mahal that stands testimony to the royal taste and opulence of the then Maharja of Mysore. It was designed by Maharaja Krishnaraj Bahadur Wadiyar IV to house the likes of the Viceroy of India and other renowned dignitaries. Nestled on a hilltop amid terraced and landscaped gardens, Lalitha Mahal is one grand show of style, design, architecture, embellishments and enchantments.
The interiors are splashed with marble floors, invaluable carpets and rosewood furnishings while the central hall is adorned with portraits, lithographs, motifs, carved wood shutters and wall panels. Royal adornments render the palace with an amazing aura. A beautiful balustrade staircase winds up-to the upper floor. The accommodation at this heritage hotel consists of 54 rooms which are commodious, airy, cool with plenty of light and furnishings include poster beds, velvet-covered arm chairs, Belgian mirrors and a host of others with en suite bathrooms.
- The former ballroom has been converted to a restaurant which remains open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Guests could enjoy swimming, jogging, billiards, tennis, playing chess and other activities as well.
- This palace hotel is positioned approximately 14km from Mysore Airport and 7km from Mysore Railway Station.
- Lalitha Mahal is at an estimated distance of 160km from Bangalore, 160km from Ooty and 120km from Coorg.
- The Mysore Silver Thali is the star-dish of the hotel which brings-out the actual, inviting taste of South India.
Located on Krishnaraja Sagar Road, the Railway Museum of Mysore is second only after the National Railway Museum, New Delhi. The museum is situated in front of the Central Food and Technology Institute and was set up in the year 1979.
The Railway Museum has a number of galleries which depict the development and growth of railway systems in India. These can be noticed from the locomotives, photographs and painting depicted in these galleries. One can view the lights and signals which were initially used and even the mini railway which operated on battery.
The first engine ever used can be spotted at the entrance. Railway coaches used by Mysore Maharaja, photograph of Austin Model of 1925, Saloon Carriage of Maharani and Wagnall 119 ER are among the major attractions of the Railway Museum. Apart from these, AWG Bagnall No.1625, locomotives built by North British Locomotive Co and W.G.Bagnall are also displayed at the museum.
A working model of the steam locomotive designed by technicians from Mechanical Department can be seen here. The museum includes mini rides on trains and a small kids’ play park.
Fondly nicknamed as the ‘City of Palaces’, Mysore’s architectural beauty revolves around its age old gallant palaces bearing the royal stories of Wodeyar dynasty. Art,culture and heritage dispersed all over Mysore lure art lovers, historians and amateur travellers from round the country. In its list of palaces, Jaganmohan Palace occupies a strikingly important position and is known to attract visitors since its inception.
The palace stands as one of the most beautiful contributions of Wodeyar kings. Built during 1861, the palace emanates traditional Hindu style of art and architecture. The palace has been the home to many historical events of Mysore, like:
- the first legislative council of Mysore state was held here,
- Lurd Curzon’s presence in the throne ceremony of the king His Highness Rajarshi Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar and
- early convocations of Mysore University.
Later, the palace was converted into an art gallery that houses one of the largest artifacts in entire South India. From miniature paintings to war weapons, sculptures, art works of eminent artists and musical instruments, the gallery takes you through a journey which enriches you with the glorious tales of ancient Mysore.
Built during 1897-1912, the Mysore Palace dominates the skyline of the district. It was designed by the English architect, Henry Irwin. The Mysore Palace is a three storied structure constructed in the Indo Saracenic style.
Beautifully designed square towers are situated at the cardinal point and are covered with domes. The ornate ceiling and sculpted pillars of Durbar Hall along with the Kalyana Mantapa (marriage pavillion) which has glazed tiled flooring, stained glass and domed ceiling are undoubtedly the charm of this royal heritage. The golden howdah (elephant seat) along with intricately carved doors and fabulous paintings are among few other treasures of the Mysore Palace. The Residential Museum within the Mysore Palace incorporates some of the living quarters, temples and shrines including the Shweta Varahaswamy temple.
The jewel encrusted golden throne is on display during special occasions like the festival of Dasara. On Sundays, public holidays and during Dasara Celebrations, the palace is illuminated with more than 90,000 electric bulbs. The bulbs are lightened in the evening from 1900 Hrs to 2000 Hrs.
Another distinguished attraction in the city of Mysore right next to Mysore Palace is Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, often nicknamed as Mysore Zoo. This 123 year old zoological garden is spread over an area of 157-acre and is the safe shelter for more than 160 species. The 77.02 acres Karanji Lake is situated on the eastern side of the zoo and the surrounding Chamundi Hills area serves as a scenic and magical backdrop.
As said earlier, the zoo is the abode to various animals. One can get to see elephants, green anacondas, giraffes, zebras, lions, tigers, white rhinoceroses, zebras, hippopotamus, gaurs, baboons and lots more. Various species of colorful birds like Swan and American White Pelican. With the acquisition of Karanji tank, an artificial island has been created as a bird sanctuary.
The most important and attractive thing about Mysore Zoo is that the animals are allowed to stay in a natural habitat like environment. So when people take a tour round the zoo, they also get the feel of exploring a forest. The animal enclosures are scattered wide apart, so it takes quite some time to explore the place. In the midst of exploring, you can halt for pictures and enjoy the green scenic surrounding. There is also a dedicated snacks and souvenir section to purchase gifts or to relish delicious dishes.
The Folklore Museum of Mysore, Karnataka is a rich reservoir of over 6500 unique folklore items including elements from dance, music, art, literature and drama. It was established in the year 1968 in Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion of Mysore. With time the museum has increased its collection of arts and artefacts and witnessed increasing footfalls. The museum’s gallery is divided into different wings and each of those displays objects from different walks of life. Some interesting exhibits here include:
- sawdust dolls of regional and historical influences,
- crowns, and
- figurines of kings, queens, saints, hermits, soldiers and folk deities.
The Hanuman crown of Kugala Balli village in North Karnataka is a distinguished attraction of Folklore Museum. Before planning a visit to the museum, one should note that it remains open from 10 am to 5:30 pm (Monday to Saturday). Sundays, Second Saturdays and Public Holidays are observed as closed.
Captain Bailey Dungeon
The fortress of Captain Bailey’s Dungeon has been named after Colonel Bailey who passed away in the year 1780. The prisoners of Tipu Sultan war were found near the fortress over here. Captain Baird, Captain Rulay and others were imprisoned in the dungeon located in the fortress. The fortress is made of bricks and mortar. The place is seen as one of the popular places of Mysore and therefore attracts people in large numbers.
Chamundi Hills is at an elevation of around 1065 m above sea level and travellers are recommended to visit the spot on the trip of Mysore. On the top of Chamundi Hills, The Chamundeshwari Temple is situated that is dedicated to avatar of Goddess Parvathi, Chamundeshwari, goddess of Wodeyars. The temple was constructed in the 11th century and was repaired in 1827 by the Mysore Kings. In front of the temple, an idol of the demon king Mahishasura is placed. Another major attraction of the Chamundi Hills is the statue of Nandi that is around 5 m tall and is engraved out of single black granite in 1659. A small temple dedicated to Chamundeshwari and Hanuman is also present on the hill which remains open from 7:30 am to 2 pm and 3:30 pm to 6 pm. Tourists can enjoy beautiful views of the city from the top of Chamundi Hills.
Places To Visit In Ooty
Nestled in the Nilgiri Hills at an altitude of 2240 metres, Ooty is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South India. Considered as the ‘Queen of the Nilgiris’, Ooty is also known as Udagamandalam. The picturesque mountain ranges of Nilgiri and the lush green valley make the hill station look extremely beautiful. The Doddabetta peak, the highest point in South India, is located in Ooty. Further, the waterfalls and blue water lakes are like a cherry on the cake. Moreover, the sprawling tea gardens make the place a green arcadia. Situated in the Western Ghats, Ooty is a biodiversity hot-spot. The rich flora includes rare species of plants along with dense pine forest. Besides, the wild exotic animals and a wide variety of birds make Ooty an ideal place for nature lovers.
The Nilgiri Mountain Railway toy train ride is very popular amongst tourists in Ooty. Not just this, the hilltop temples radiates spiritual vibes. Besides tourists places in Ooty, the hill station offers opportunities to undertake adventures like trekking and camping.
The weather in Ooty remains pleasant throughout the year. The best time to visit Ooty is considered to be the months between October and March.
The places to visit in Ooty
Ooty Botanical Garden
Whenever you think of Ooty, you have to think about its nature. This Botanical garden has all the things that someone needs to make a haven out of a garden. The 22 hectares of the garden is full of several kinds of plants and trees. Every day several gardeners work in the place to make it appealing. You will find bushes that have the shape of animals. A place called the Toda hill is also present inside the garden. This helps people to know about the tribal history of Ooty.
The organizers divided the garden into different parts like the Lower Garden, the Newer Garden, the Italian Garden etc. to show different plants. When you enter the garden, you will get amazed to see the sheer number of variables at the place. Flower shows are also held at different times of the year.
When you are in vacation of a place you want to sit at a quiet area. The Ooty lake lets you have that feeling with its beautiful, serene breezes. If you are in Ooty, you wouldn’t need to travel much to find this place. The enclosure of the Eucalyptus trees makes the lake even more beautiful. Several types of boats are also available in the lake through the organization of the boat club. One may enjoy a Boat ride in the Ooty lake and click numerous pictures.
A base charge of INR 10 is also levied on people entering the lake area. The lake remains open from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM on a daily basis. It does get crowded during the weekdays. So, you may include this in Places to visit in Ooty in 2 days if you are in Ooty.
Pykara Falls and Lake
You may not leave a hilly vacation without witnessing a beautiful waterfall. In Ooty, you may find it in the Pykara falls. It is at a distance of 23 KM from the bus stand of Ooty and there is the good connection. The falls form from the Pykara river and flow in form of two steps. The bed of the waterfall is also rugged which adds to its beauty. The falls take its best shape in the monsoon months when it below with water. One may walk to the falls from the lake which is just 2 KM away. So, definitely include this beautiful destination in the Places to visit in Ooty in 2 days.
St Stephens Church
When you are in proximity to Ooty, you will come across many colonial heritages. The St Stephens Church is also a remnant of those times. Its architecture is the thing that stands out the most. The church has a pale yellow colour and reminds you of the 19th century. A painting of the Last Supper is also present inside the church. The stained glass windows and the grandiose praying halls will catch everyone’s eyes. It is also present right in the city, so access to it is effortless. Interested people may also attend the mass.
The timings of the church are 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM and again from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. The church is also open to everyone for free. You may roam through the halls to think about the glory that it had in its past days. Definitely, include this historic church in your Places to visit in Ooty.
Ketti Valley Viewpoint
The valleys are often one of the most beautiful places when you spend your vacation in a hilly area. Ketti valley is also present near Ooty and tourists frequent the place. From the viewpoint, you may see the beautiful area that surrounds the place. This includes the native homes of the tribal people and also the hilly setting. The lush green foliage is also contrasted with the beauty of the sky. You may also use the telescope to have a closer look at the valley. It is also good to roam around the homely valley to see it from a close proximity. Even the Pony Needle Factory calls this valley their home.
If you want to see some Bisons munching on grass then definitely visit this place. The situation is at Bellikal which is about 26 KM away from Ooty. The valley is a lush green valley where you may stretch your legs and watch the bison. The valley is also surrounded by tea gardens and you will leave behind the hustle bustle of the city. Always remember to stay away from the bison. Other than them you may encounter birds and other wildlife which are also native to the place. Make sure to take your camera as you will get some great pictures. A tourist spot has also grown in the area and they offer sports like trekking and rock climbing.
Religion is an important part of the residents of a place. As we know, Hindus have an array of God. This particular temple’s dedication is to the Goddess of rain. The temple’s architecture is in the Dravidian style which you may notice in its gopuram or entrance tower. The natives thank the Goddess every year in the form of an annual festival in April. You will areas love the place because of its colorfulness and peacefulness. You may sit in the temple premises or even pray to the favorite Goddess of the town
Coonoor is just 18 KM away from Ooty, so it is a perfect idea to spend one day exploring Coonor as well in your 2 day trip to Ooty. It is also loved by many people because of its tea gardens and the terrace farming. Several places of tourist attractions are also available in Coonoor like the Doorg Fort, Lamb’s Rock or the St. Catherine’s Falls. You may also book a resort at Coonoor and enjoy a whole day at the place.
One amazing thing about Coonor is its availability of trekking spots. People who want to enjoy peace and tranquility may choose to stay in Coonoor rather than in Ooty. Whatever be the case, you may definitely visit the place because of the scenic views and amazing weather of the place.
Nilgiri Mountain Railway
The narrow gauge railway exists in India in the mountainous regions. Ooty is one of the sites that have this railway and it is also a UNESCO Heritage site. So, when you are in Ooty, you cannot miss out on riding this beautiful train service. The train ride lasts for over 5 hours and takes you through forests, hills and shows you off the beauty of the Nilgiris. In its stretch, the train covers 250 bridges and 16 tunnels. It is also worthy to get a first class ticket as the experience is quite phenomenal. You may take the whole journey from Ooty to Coimbatore to see the train to its fullest glory.